Today we we had planned a shorter ride of 62km to Sucha Beskidzka south of Krakow. However this turned out to be long enough as we were in rain after the first hour and there were also a lot of hills.
Our start was delayed as Kris got talking with the intelligent young Pole working at the hostel. It was very interesting hearing his views on Poland and European politics. He spoke about the challenge with Ukranian refugees. His grandfather was lucky not to be one of the 22,000 soldiers executed by the Russians (Katyn massacre) but was deported to Siberia during WWII. Eventually an agreement was reached that Poles could join the allied forces, but they had to get to the allied bases themselves. So they had to walk from Siberia to the border in Turkey. His grandfather survived but the friend he walked with did not.
The start of the route was the most pleasant as we rode out of Krakow alongside the river for about 8km in overcast conditions.
We headed onto road 953 through a series of villages where we encountered road works and it started drizzling. We eventually turned off at Kalwaria onto a quieter road. We passed a huge 17th century monastery on a hill. There were a number of tourist buses but no tourists in sight, it was raining and pretty miserable weather at this time.
We were advised by a couple of people and also a map outside a hotel of a more direct route through to Sucha Beskidzka. This road was in very bad condition with lots of potholes and patches and also had lots of steep up and down hills – lots of them through forests. Road signs helpfully indicate the gradient, most were 9-12% but the highest was 14%. I had to get off and push my bike a couple of times.
We were getting cold by the time we reached our hotel in Sucha Beskidzka. The hotel is on the ground floor of a Renaissance castle and is called Restaurant and Hotel Kasper Suski. We are finding the Polish prices very affordable – for example this hotel costs around NZD 50 for two including breakfast and wifi.
I enjoyed getting warm and clean again. Kris did some maintenance on the bicycle brakes. We had a three course meal in the hotel restaurant – I had trout which was delicious.
Here is a photo of Kris adjusting bicycle breaks in the rain.